Saturday, July 19, 2008

Home improvement fraud

Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal issued a press release this past week concerning home improvement fraud. This press release along with others from the our Prosecutors office may be downloaded from:
This press release announces a new video produced by the Elder Crimes Task Force and made available to members of our community. I've received and reviewed the video and I must applaud the Prosecutors office for initiatives such as these. The video is appropriately paced and it covers key areas such as "Talking to Contractors", "Red Flags", and "Contracts" just to name a few.
A couple of areas of interest are the Home Improvement Contract law that requires contracts for work in excess of $150. That's right -- $150. Another area discussed is surprise lien notices. The video uses local officials, contractors and scenery.
I will loan my copy of the video to any club or organization in District 3. Organizations who need their own copies of the video may contact the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney's office through the link above. Organizations may also request a speaker on Crimes Against the Elderly through the same office.

Building community

What is the GHNA all about? We are very lucky to live in a neighborhood that has very few problems and issues. So I was thinking about the difference between the GHNA and some of the neighborhood associations downtown. Here's what I think makes our neighborhood association different:
Building Community rather than Defending Community
While the GHNA does address issues within Grandview Hills, there are thankfully few so we as a neighborhood can spend more time building our community, getting to know each other, and fostering relationships. A lot of other neighborhood associations don't have as much luxury to do that because they are trying to defend their community from some problem - students, traffic, etc.
I think being able to spend our time becoming true neighbors has a bonus. By getting to know each other through the annual block party, garage sales, ice cream social, etc, we create an environment where it is much easier to talk to neighbors if there is an issue and we also think about how our actions will affect those around us. By working to build our community, we also defend it.
Hopefully as we continue to grow, we will become a model of a truly well functioning neighborhood.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

pedicabs - schmedicabs

One of the new and interesting topics on the Council landscape is "pedicabs". This term may elicit questions such as:
* Is it something for my feet?
* Is it a taxi service for children by children?
* Does it involve child labor?
* Are you serious?
Seriously speaking, I'm not fond of the name but I think the concept has merit. Frankly, its not a new concept but it may be new to our community. So that I don't have to re-create a lot of detail and definition, do a (search engine of choice) search on "pedicab". You should find a Wikipedia entry for "Cycle Rickshaw". Wikipedia provides a good overview on the subject.
So, why not have pedicabs (I'll use velotaxi from here on) here in Bloomington? To date, I can't think of a reason not to allow them. This is not to say the City of Bloomington is ready to issue permits on such entrepreneurial adventures. There are two key areas in our Municipal Code that provide model language for velotaxis. One section is Chapter 4.24 governing Taxicabs and Chapter 4.30 governing Horse-Drawn Vehicles for Hire. Each of these chapters contains a section concerning complaints. Those sections are 4.24.150 and 4.30.130 respectively. In essence, these sections define complaints being directed to the Board of Public Works with potential for license suspension or revocation. In short, the City is partly responsible for public's safety on velotaxis.
We will be working with the petitioner and others concerned to define appropriate rules for velotaxis. Some of the concerns I will work through are safe operating times, inspection criteria, adequate insurance, parking, advertising, bonding, driver licensing, visibility, and safe operating streets. As council members work through the process, I suspect more issues will arise. Overall, I have a positive outlook on this topic and I'm glad that at least one entrepreneur is giving it a look.
There will be more to come on this I am sure.

Mike Satterfield
City Council Rep

Thursday, July 10, 2008

City Life

I'm starting with the entry 'City Life' to kick-off a new section to the GHNA blogs. Allow me a moment to introduce myself -- I'm Mike Satterfield, I live on Staats Drive. I'm also fortunate to be the City Council representative for this district. District 3 extends in the south roughly from State Rd 446 and Moore's Pike, west to College Mall Road then north along the 45 / 46 Bypass and north again to North Dunn and Old State Road 37. The IU Golf Course, Tammeron and Eastern Heights neighborhoods are also included in this district. District maps in Bloomington may be found at:
I hope to use this blog for as information exchange in our neighborhood and provide information on broader issuses facing our city.
Thanks for listening,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Outdoors and Yards links

City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation
Monroe County Parks and Recreation
Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District
National Wildlife Federation: Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Indiana links

State of Indiana
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Voter information
Indiana Unclaimed Property
Indiana Sex Offender Registry

Bloomington and Southern Indiana links

Indiana University
Ivy Tech Community College
Brown County CVB
Columbus Indiana
Bedford-Bloomington, IN Freecycle
Historic Bloomington aerial photos

Monroe County links

Monroe County
Monroe County Community School Corporation
County Cooperative Extension
Monroe County GIS information site

City of Bloomington Links

City of Bloomington
Fire Department
Police Department
Bloomington Hospital
City of Bloomington Volunteer Network
Bloomington Weather
Bloomington Transit
Grandview Hills Neighborhood Association email list
Housing and Neighborhood Development
Council of Neighborhood Associations